KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As teams poured in for the Big 12 basketball tournament, a power conference event being staged at the near-$300 million Midwestern showpiece that is Sprint Center, we were reminded how insignificant this sport is relative to television money generated by football.
Consider the comments of West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck, made Monday to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Luncheon Club in Canton, Ohio.
“I took this job with one goal in mind … to make sure we could figure out a way to be a member of a power football conference,” said Luck, according to a report in The Times-Reporter. “Basketball, with all its movement, has zero (conference) value.
“It’s all about football and the insatiable desire Americans have to watch football on television. When Fox Sports and ESPN did the most recent deal with the ACC, the Fox people told the ACC 80 percent of the value of that contract was because of football and 20 percent because of basketball. Think about that. The ACC is a great basketball conference. It’s all about football.”
So, despite the fan interest and excitement generated by March Madness and the NCAA tournament, the administrators and television execs are swayed far more by that other sport currently running through spring drills.